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pena palace sintra

Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

  • ☑ Day trip from Lisbon to the historic and beautiful towns of Sintra and Cascais
  • ☑ Discover the natural wonders of Pena Park and Sintra Natural Park
  • ☑ See the cliffs of Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe
  • ☑ Enjoy a scenic drive along the Atlantic coast, including free time at Cascais Beach
  • ☑ Duration: 8 hours
  • ⭐️Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (3742 reviews)

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Lisbon in winter offers a mild climate with sun and comfortable temperatures. There’s a bit of rain, but it’s never as cold as to turn into snow.

I’ve experienced Lisbon in December and I’d do it again any time. It doesn’t compare to the Algarve in winter, where I spent three months wearing t-shirts and flip-flops, but it’s still one of the best times of year to visit Portugal’s capital city without having to put up with scorching heat and summer holiday crowds.

hard rock cafe lisbon

You’d guess it’s December in Lisbon only by the Christmas decor on buildings

While Lisbon dazzles visitors all year long, the Portuguese capital takes on extra charm in winter. Mild temperatures, festive lights everywhere, and lively holiday markets make it an ideal cold-weather destination.

Lisbon Temperatures – Winter Month Range

Month Avg Minimum Temp Avg Maximum Temp
November 52°F / 11°C 68°F / 20°C
December 48°F / 9°C 61°F / 16°C
January 46°F / 8°C 59°F / 15°C
February 47°F / 8°C 61°F / 16°C
March 50°F / 10°C 66°F / 19°C

 

As you can see, while average highs reach respectable levels between 61-68°F (16-20°C) even in the cooler months, overnight/early morning lows do sometimes dip into the mid to upper 40s Fahrenheit (8-11°C). Still, the relatively narrow gap of around 10-12°C between monthly extremes showcase winter’s generally stable conditions.

So while visitors may need light jackets for venturing out at night or early mornings, Lisbon winters usually warm up nicely during afternoon sightseeing.

Lisbon’s climate in December – January is like experiencing four seasons in a day.

Pleasant Weather for Sightseeing

Despite its coastal location, Lisbon boasts gentle winters. Average temperatures range from 50°F (10°C) in December to 57°F (14°C) by February. Occasional rain showers do occur but usually pass quickly. The mostly moderate conditions make winter outdoor exploring perfectly pleasant.

During my week in Lisbon in winter, I only had one full day of light rain. I spent it shopping and visiting the Lisbon Aquarium, Oceanario de Lisboa.

All other days were awesome, most of them sunny and warm. That was the perfect weather for visiting Sintra, for climbing to the top of Cristo Rei to take photos of the beautiful Tagus river, and to enjoy the Christmas market in Rossio Square.

Can’t Miss Winter Attractions in Lisbon

Even with cooler weather, Lisbon stays lively with colorful lights draped across streets in pretty Baixa district.

Holiday shoppers flock to festive Mercado de Natal (Christmas market) on main square Praca do Comercio, brimming with handcrafted gifts and tasty treats.

Classy store displays shine in chi-chi Bairro Alto amid scenes resembling a winter wonderland.

Crisp air carries scent of roasted chestnuts as historic yellow trams wind through hilly Alfama filled with soulful Fado song.

While walking through Lisbon in winter, try to find the best sunset spots, the so-called miradouros. They are magical, trust me!

miradouro lisbon

Arrive early to grab one of the best sunset viewing spots

Glimpsing the city’s reflections across the Tejo River at sunset proves an unforgettable winter walk.

25 april bridge lisbon Portugal

25 April Bridge over Tagus River

Indoor Activities for Rainy Days

If showers do strike, Lisbon offers no shortage of indoor activities.

Shark watching in Lisbon Oceanarium

Shark watching in Lisbon Oceanarium

I’ve mentioned above Oceanario de Lisboa as one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Lisbon. Let me add the Pavilhao do Conhecimento, the Pavilion of Knowledge, where you can find amazing science-related exhibitions your children will surely love.

Many museums like the Gulbenkian showcase impressive fine art collections.

Visit ornate cathedrals and majestic palaces like National Palace with its opulent rooms.

jeronimos monastery museums belem

The gothic building that hosts the Maritime Museum and the Archeology Museum in Belem

See Vasco de Gama’s tomb and relive voyages of discovery at Jeronimos Monastery. You’ll need to travel to Belem for that. Check out my article about Belem to see how to get there and what are some landmarks to visit in the area.

Handpainted azulejos tiles make even Metro stations artistic gems worth ducking inside.

lisbon metro tiles vasco da gama

Here’s Vaco da Gama painted on azulejos at Lisbon metro

And what better way to warm up than enjoying a savory bowl of hearty Portuguese soup or some pasteis de nata custard tarts in one of Lisbon’s charming cafes?

pastel de nata workshop lisbon

We took a fun pasteis de nata cooking class. I highly recommend it. Before you go. check out this article that teaches you how to say thank you in Portuguese.

With pleasant weather, festive spirit in the streets, and endless indoor options, Lisbon in winter envelops visitors cozy charm and culture.

 

Violeta Matei
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